Peter Nourse, Rochester’s Director of City Services, gathered City officials and state representatives on October 17th, 2023 to celebrate the completion of a major water infrastructure improvement project for the City.
The City, with assistance from grant funding and low-interest loans, invested $13.5 million over the course of the last six years to extend clean drinking water service to City residents along New Hampshire Route 202A. This project involved the installation of over 20,000 linear feet of water main and the erection of the tallest glass fused to steel elevated water storage tank in New Hampshire in support of improving water quality and supply in the community.
Historically, poor water quality in private wells along Route 202A and adjacent City streets drove the need for this project. Testing of these private wells indicated high concentrations of contaminants including manganese at levels 15 times greater and iron at levels 60 times greater than recommended. Part of the project area had previously identified MtBE, a gasoline-related contaminant, in private water supplies. At the time of design, these homes relied on expensive, state-maintained point-of-use water treatment systems. In addition to water quality issues, private well supply in the project area was significantly limited during statewide seasonal drought conditions.
The City took action and worked with the engineering firm Wright-Pierce to develop a multi-point plan to address the need for clean, reliable drinking water. The project included the construction of an elevated storage tank as well as new water main along New Hampshire Route 202A, Winkley Farm Drive, Bickford Road, and Fiddlehead Lane.
The City made it a priority to source funding for the projects so that the financial burden wouldn’t be solely on the community. They were successful in securing $3.3 million in grants from the MTBE Settlement Fund; $5.4 million in grants and $1.3 million in low-interest loans from the State of New Hampshire Drinking Water Groundwater Trust Fund; and $3.5 million in City Contributions. Over 64% of the project was paid for using grants.
According to Director Nourse, “We are so proud of the work that’s been done in our City to bring clean drinking water to over 100 additional homes. This is a huge benefit for the residents of Rochester and addresses urgent water supply and quality issues caused by contaminants such as MtBE, iron, manganese, arsenic, and radon.” He added, “This project is part of our ongoing objective to provide clean drinking water to those residents of the City in need.”